New firm to take over running of Kettering sport and leisure facilities

The contract will be for an initial three-year period with an option to extend

Tuesday, 2nd August 2022, 6:00 am

Some North Northants Council-owned Kettering area leisure facilities will be managed by a new company from October after a contract was awarded to a not-for-profit leisure trust.

Freedom Leisure has been awarded the contract covering Kettering Swimming Pool, Desborough Leisure Centre, Kettering Pitch and Track at KLV and Corn Market Hall.

Managing the facilities on behalf of North Northamptonshire Council (NNC), Freedom Leisure had already been working with the former East Northants District Council since April 2017 when it took over the operation of The Nene Centre in Thrapston and The Pemberton Centre and Splash Leisure Pool in Rushden.

clockwise: Kettering's Cornmarket Hall, Desborough Leisure Centre, Kettering Swimming Pool, Kettering athletics track and in centre Kettering Pitch

Cllr Helen Howell, deputy leader of North Northants Council and executive member for sport, leisure, culture and tourism, said: “To award this contract to an operator who has physical, mental and social health at the heart of everything they do, is welcome news and I look forward to seeing how successful the leisure centres will be under the management of Freedom Leisure.”

Freedom Leisure will be managing

- Kettering athletics track, home to Kettering Harriers

- Kettering Pitch, the unusable all-weather artificial pitch that is estimated will cost about £300,000 to replace

Kettering Swimming Pool was opened in 1984

- Desborough Leisure Centre in Ironwood Avenue that has a sports hall, gym and pitches

- The Corn Market Hall in Kettering with rooms that can be booked for meetings, celebrations, concerts and wedding receptions

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Desborough Leisure Centre opened in May 2012

Ivan Horsfall Turner, Freedom Leisure’s chief executive officer, said: ”Having been managing facilities in Thrapston and Rushden for what was East Northamptonshire Council we are delighted to have taken forward an excellent relationship into the new North Northamptonshire Council when it was formed.

"As a genuine not-for-profit leisure operator providing vital physical, mental and social health benefits to the local community and realising our vision of improving lives through leisure, we are absolutely delighted to have expanded this relationship into the Kettering facilities which provides us and the council with a further opportunity to enhance and co-ordinate services for the community."

North Northamptonshire Council has awarded the contract for an initial three-year period with an option to extend for two further 12-month extensions. The contract will begin on October 1, 2022.

Leader of North Northants Council, Cllr Jason Smithers, said: “Having worked with Freedom Leisure for a number of years, we have complete trust and faith in them to do a fantastic job of managing more of the leisure facilities across north Northamptonshire.”

The facilities were previously managed by Legacy Leisure, another not-for-profit charitable organisation.

Freedom Leisure manages more than 100 leisure and cultural facilities on behalf of partners across the UK and promise to deliver ‘high quality, locally-focused services’ and be committed to their ‘ongoing development’.

As a not-for-profit organisation all surpluses are reinvested. They also promise to support partners with the ‘provision of great community facilities’.